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>> welcome, this is "debate." what does the hostages say about the region of west africa? the debate reflects on the three-year ordeal of those employees of the french company at the hands of al qaeda. how has the region changed to change islamists from northern
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maui? claims firmly denied by the french government. starting in the newsroom, let's say hello to claire. >> families are reunited, the government denies paying a ransom. releasing palestinian printers -- prisoners as part of a deal to resume peace talks. and in connection with the deadly car crash.
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it is described as a terrorist attack for the first time. the hostages kidnapped in 2010 are back in front. also there to greet them, the president francois hollande. lacks they waited more than three years for this moment. the former hostages can at last see and touch their loved ones with emotions running high. their plane landed on the tarmac of the military place outside paris. the nightmare is over for the four and their families.
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>> this moment is one of immense joy. immense joy for these men who have been able to reunite with their families. with their country. and can finally live normally again. >> once again, francois hollande thanked the president of niger. the former hostage is emotionally drained by their ordeal. how they are in the hands of terrorists.
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it is experimental and imaginative. that is also what we told each other when we were in captivity together. >> they have thoughts for those experiencing the same suffering. those with the seven french nationals still held hostage in africa and in syria. >> they were seized in niger but were held in the deserts of neighboring mali. we asked about the president of niger's role. >> the government has a much better relationship with the former rebels, and the malian
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goverment in northern mali -- [indiscernible] his right hand man is a former rebel, now the head of a sectarian niger, played a considerable role over the border. the role of niger should not be underestimated. >> the palestinian authority's reaction. the move was seen as an effort to soothe hardliners after the release of 26 palestinian prisoners. another 52 will be freed.
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>> celebrating the return of their heroes. hundreds gathered to welcome the palestinian prisoners freed by israel. >> i can't describe how i feel. god has blessed us with freedom and i spent 20 years in jail. >> the remaining 21 were greeted by the president before taking the stage in front of thousands for a welcoming ceremony. their release and celebrations were met with anger as all 26 prisoners were convicted for the deaths of israelis. a last-minute appeal. right before the inmates were freed. >> they became heroes.
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the palestinian authority says that when i grow up, i want to be just like him. more troops will get killed. >> they built 1500 homes. this latest release is the second of four with a total of 104 palestinian president expected to be freed. it is part of a new agreement expected to be brokered by secretary of state john kerry that brought them back to the negotiating table. the un's special envoy to syria met the president in damascus this wednesday. state media reporting that assad said that foreign support for the rebels must end if any solution is to succeed. he is on a tour of the region trying to drum up support for peace talks that should be held in geneva next month.
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that is what the u.s. and russia want. but it has been rejected by several groups fighting in syria. in china, it has emerged that five people have been arrested. secretive at first, they are describing it as a terrorist attack. most of them have been named as ethnic uighurs. >> after two days of silence, they last ackno -- at last acknowledged the crash at tn tnn tnn an the square. >> it was a meditative case of terrorist attack. >> the foreign ministry refused to comment on if the attack was terrorist or an accident.
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it was the first time beijing was targeted by a terrorist attack in recent history. two were killed and scores injured when a jeep plowed into a crowded china's most symbolic site. and exploded. three travelers in the vehicle were also killed. according to state media, machetes and jihadi flags have been found inside the car. five suspects have been arrested and al are believed to be part of the uighur group. unrest has been fueled by the chinese authorities heavy-handed dealings with the uighurs and restrictions on the minority's religion and culture. >> three former world journalists have pleaded guilty to hacking phones ahead of a high-profile trial that starts
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this wednesday and is expected to last until next easter. it sees a defendant said former editors like rebecca brooks and andy colson facing 15 phone acting related charges. -- phone hacking related charges. broosks is said to have been active in hacking. a bust of winston churchill has just been unveiled there. john boehner was joined for the unveiling ceremony today by secretary of state john kerry amongst others. half a century after the british prime minister was granted honorary u.s. citizenship. he was addressed three times more than any other dignitary. make sure you catch the 90th edition opening with a dazzling chocolate fashion show.
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the french tennis champion was among those wearing chocolate creations. also taken to the catwalk was a former miss france. it runs until sunday, november 3. check it out if you can. that's all from the newsroom for now. >> claire pride in the newsroom. after more than three years of captivity in the sahara, a presidential welcome home. for french employees of nuclear power group areva greeted by francois hollande himself just outside of parents -- paris. several false starts after the invasion to root out the jihadist that took it. in the end, a peaceful settlement.
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the unnamed french source claims more than 20 million euros were exchanged on the eve of their release. the circumstance could shed some of the light on the motives of radical islamists. still holding others hostage. to pay or not to pay is the question. our leaders bolstered or weakened by this turn of events. the enriched uranium deposit since february, what is the deal after the release of those french hostages? welcome to the filmmaker and journalist. she represents one of the families of one of the freed hostages. welcome to the debate.
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they have chalked up quite a few hours in northern mali in the past year. in the debate, you can join the conversation on facebook and on twitter. #f24debate. the president said the foreign and defense ministers to escort the four hostages home to their inpatient loved ones. >> it is as if he is restarting the conversation we were having just a few days ago. i mean he is restarting where we were in our daily lives but with our own way of doing things. it is quite extraordinary.
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it is such a relief that what we have been waiting for for three years has finally happened. it hasn't sunk in. no, we are not dreaming. this is for real. >> we have been fighting for three years. and now, the news is extraordinary. i can hardly find the words. >> our happiness is indescribable. i think we will never feel anything like this again in our lives. after so much time spent in anxiety and uncertainty. we have faith in our family members and knew that we would hold on as we were doing. >> that is a long time. >> i can feel very compassionate towards the families on another
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level because during those years, my daughter had been working in that part of the world. everyday, we think about this issue going to be taken. it makes me realize that there is an uneival flibo thesth. if feel that these are released, somehow or another, the terrorist benefited from the hostage release as well. are they going to do more? it is to their benefit if they get ransom money. there is an unequivocal feeling about that. would be there among the first to say let's pay the rans. >> your daughter has not heeded your calls to play it safe, she is still working there. >> she is still working there but she and her husband hired six armed security to follow them around. they are digging wells in the deseor the door eggs.
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-- tauregs. they have to constantly be conscious of what is going on. >> the president reeling from rock-bottom approval ratings and breather as he spoke this wednesday as those hostages touched down. >> france is a republic and the country should show the capacity for dialogue as well as solidarity. we are at a time where we must get together. unity is the key to success. if there is a lesson to learn from this terrible event, it is that our nation was united behind these for french citizens. >> seven hostages held, and other situations over the past
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decade. all of france is glued to its television set watching these hostages come home. are we destined to see this more and more? >> we are going to wait for the liberation of the seven hostages. it is important to mention that they are in syria and africa, those parts of the country. the hostages have been free and one of them is still going in nigeria. what is quite true is the fact that three years has been achieved. a lot has been undertaken. a certain number of hostages have been liberated, which has been withdrawn in the recent
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weeks. the fact that they have been undertaken. >> a lot of back channels. and last year, they make that decision to go into molly, did you think that the hostages are all going to be killed? >> normally, we wait for the liberation of the hostages when they took this breather and eased a bit very recently. now things are going on and the situation is not so clear. first of all, there is this ransom money that can procure and provocation a certain number of attacks. we have to take into consideration thatthere is a new momentum because there will
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be important elections in a few weeks. maybe it can occur in molly. it is the second stage for the presidential election in july. i have to say it is not really clear what are the odds at stake at this point. what is really clear is this liberation was taken and undertaken by the nigerians, the niger government. it is an important factor because he was weekend on the basis of elections which were going to take place in september. it has been creating a political environment in which there was a
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political consensus. >> you stand to benefit from the situation and take the lead. we are talking about of confusion for some of the viewers. we are talking about several countries. maybe we can call up the map. it is including a debrief with french intelligence. if you look at the map of west africa, look at the areas that are light-colored. where they have been the past three years. your thoughts on where these hostages may have been held? >> i think the likelihood that they were in southern libya is quite high because you have a region there that is out of the control of the central government where militias are present and really doing the
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governing. the hostage takers are more likely to have gone there, dispersing the hostages in different press reports to hide them from the intervention taking place in the north of malli. i think it is unlikely they were kept near the nigerian border where security has been quite high. and in the past few months, i think libya really presents the most probable area for them to have transferred -- >> the french defense ministry has said one of the effects of this intervention by french forces has been to drive a wedge through the middle of the sahara. and he stabilize some of these groups. what are your thoughts now that they have been freed?
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>> there is no doubt that some of those groups have been operating in the north of m ali andy stabilize the bid by the french intervention. they mustn't lose sight of the bigger picture. that is that the entire region is a region where the borders are almost fictional, i would say. imaginary lines in the sand. to limit oneself to the intervention solely through the prison of northern mali is forgetting that chad, niger, the south of libya, all these areas are vulnerable also. they are really good for these groups to be able to travel. with the instability that is
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there, it extends quite far and is out of the debate. this is seen as an arc of instability where the groups are able to thrive. and in deed, kidnap western citizens that is beneficial to them. >> i wanted to add that japanese intelligence made clear links between the insurgency and what is clear is that instability is going to the north. there is confirmation that these groups are operating more in areas where we thought security was assessed. the south of tunisia where there are ongoing attacks in the
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southern and western parts of the country. >> when you went to northern mali, the locals said this is nothing new. this has been going on for a long time. >> it has been going on for a long time. when they arrived a few days after the liberation, several people told us they saw a few days before our arrival, several white people that they described as hostages. we knew that they were in mali. i think it is very important to put deliberations in the context as well as the 10 last months. when france started the
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operation and the events of january of this year, it was like putting [indiscernible] we knew it was putting them in danger. they were not the priority of the army. it is good news that they were released today. we know that the army killed about 700 jihadists. many people said there were 1400 which really helped to confirm that. the news released today shows that they have time to reorganize. reorganizing is a lot of organization. starting in mali, we know
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that they had no more contact with those people. they had contact with niger and to a certain extent, they are reorganizing very quickly. >> three years ago when this hostagetaking took place, it was at a compound for the workers. the french nuclear group areva and in the north of niger, very far from where people thought the jihadist were. you defend the families of one of those that were freed today. you say areva should have been more aware that this was this ability to move between borders. >> we presented mr. hollande --
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there was time for relief. it is indescribable happiness for the family waiting. there is time to determine the responsibilities. that is why we broach an action for this investigation. >> to go this far to get hostages? >> it is a few months ago. yesterday, the coincidence or that the magistrates were appointed. to investigate and determine the
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liability of terrorist. and also know the truth about the measure. >> when you hear about michael at first, you say that areva did not take those kind of precautions? >> it seems that the authorities in place were weeak. now the investigation of who has those weakness -- >> the lawsuit still stands. we will see how things go in the days to come when you speak more with the families. when we come back, we will pick up on this.
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we will talk about how key it is to this story. stay tuned to this debate. >> welcome back. this is the debate. it lets give you a sample of the
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stories we will follow for you at the hour. concentrating minds in this studio is the liberation of the french hostages after three years in captivity. we touched down earlier on french soil. a five-year-old child fighting for his life after being trapped under a ride in disneyland paris. israel announces new construction in east jerusalem after releasing palestinian prisoners. the deal to resume talks there. five people arrested in connection to the explosion, authorities describing it as a terrorist attack for the first time. and a piece of music history sold at auction. just around the corner, almost half a million pounds following a bidding war. those stories and more at the top of the hour.
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this is the debate. we are asking, what is the deal. the french nuclear giant for three years was held captive. in security studies in europe. the attorney for the families of one of those freed hostages and from london, the risk assessment firm. thank you for being back with us. a media watch segment, we were mentioning at the outset of the front-page headline, talking about a ransom being paid, one being denied by the government.
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>> this came out in french media, radio spoke about it last night. and a source close to the operation a french source that 20 million was handed over. afb corroborated that saying it was somewhere between 25 million. they say france does not a a ransom. a lot of people asked if it was areva and the nuclear giant made the payment on behalf or maybe with secret funds. another report i thought was quite interesting was how this affected the operation back in january.
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according to this report, certain strikes were canceled in the north of the country for fear -- i suppose for a slightly less detailed look or a lighter look at the whole thing, what has happened the past years? some say they were in a state of shock yesterday evening. that is understandable. they might have been shocked. it was quite an unexpected turn of events from three years ago until now. pope benedict the 16th was still in paris.
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they say it might explain some of them. other people talking about football, people making -- >> three years of world history summed up in football transfers. >> you mentioned a radio station. one of the seven hostages being held, she says areva did they up and is angry. >> they said the government would not pay.
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the foreign ministry did say that areva would pay. areva is close to the french government. >> first of all, is that an allegation? is that laws a bowl? -- plausible? >> the hostages have been freed not because france is been played -- paid big do but becaue [indiscernible] i am not allocating anything. they made it quite clear that his company would leave no one behind. in this morning, it is very important.
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>> is it semantics? a private firm or the french government in the eyes of these hostage takers? >> that is the first point. second, the articles with whether or not there was 20 million paid in the past. we know it is between 3.5 and 5 million euros. the insurgents have been defeated after the french operation and are going back to our memories.
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it is precisely what has been going on. i am not sure that they will not bring new hostages. >> i definitely think that as the previous guest was saying, the groups benefit from these kind of financial payments. they will definitely see them as incentives -- >> where does the money go? >> it depends on the types of groups and how they are structured. you really have to look at the group structure to understand where that money is going.
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on a more general point, this incident is going to raise a major question. how do we assess this kind of situation in a coherent and cohesive way? if we are paying through companies or their own institutions, whether they pay those groups or not, you can create a kind of problem we have seen in the past few months. algeria adopts a different stance. for that reason, it still has hostages. they have not secured the
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release of these hostages. what i am saying is that there needs to be a servant coherent way to approach the crisis throughout the regions. >> we know that they have not gone. it was botched rescue efforts. >> we notice that the french seem to be kidnapped a lot compared to other nationalities. there is obviously a relationship between the ability or willingness to pay a ransom and the willingness to kidnap people from their particular nationality. it doesn't mean there is
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necessarily an association with the attack and the willingness to pay ransom. what was just pointed out, we need to think about what we are going to do next. we always make a certain decision and there are political implications. i think we have to think about what we have done in the past and how it works. the analysis of what has taken place and where it has led us, just to release these hostages, you needed niger, france, algeria, possibly qatar involved with this negotiation. it is a lot of effort to release for hostages and payoff terrorists.
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what other incentive would they have? keep in mind that the french killed the head not that long ago. they don't have the french close to their hearts. yes, there is no doubt that receiving 20 million euros revives the ability for them to carry out further terrorist attacks. >> in this instance, nobody killed. several key figures including a former rebel leader that was starting to build a uranium mine . his name has been mentioned a lot. i don't want to go too much into details of who the middlemen are in this story.
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>> i think it is worthy of talking about, if for no other reason, then to say how complicated -- one is from northern mali. he has been in politics in niger and is now basically chairman of areva, so i think in order for him to take part of this, taking over the lead role, he had to maintain contacts with all of these different terrorist groups that existed from southern libya to southern tunisia. it brings up how closely related and how difficult it is with
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people that formerly belonged with another tuareg group. rather than go into great detail, the complications are often oiled or fueled or helped by the dealing with people that i think mohammed benefited quite well from the fact that he maintained -- >> it was in 2011, i think, when the middlemen made off with some money and stalled whole process at this point. the president is a former engineer of that french company. besides the mines where the hostages were taken back in 2010, starting to build another mine. how does this affect relations?
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it is like a public-private partnership we seem to be implying with this story. and this is a time where there are negotiations underway. >> it is an old story that allows that. he was the former leader of niger killed in 1995. the security was assured by a deal that was struck between the modern party. what you mention is quite true. in the past weeks, france was going to be very helpful.
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to bring money to the country, as you mentioned, it is quite sure. he won the elections in september of 2011. again, areva was very hard to negotiate. it will be another story. >> the good news for you is that your client is alive. >> that is good news. and now they can hold this. still today, he wants to help them. we will see.
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>> if it turns out areva did pay, does that change his opinion? >> those are two different issues. >> we have been talking about the question of where it all leads from last year. it does make its way into the hands of a team -- >> it was founded in algeria in the late 90s as a group for preaching and combat. the sphere of influence stretches across the entire
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region. it is the west and those that stand with it. to those that know the territory well, they provide training under the radar and carrying their attacks. they have received some serious blows, among the 500 fighters killed during france's intervention. one of the casualties was a top commander. another quit the group last year and with new leaders ahead of the brigades. he remains ambitious and continues to mend bloody attacks. >> how are they doing? >> as your report mentioned, it is certainly facing a blow as a result.
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the militants have prepared for little types of attacks. we are not dealing with very homogenous and clear entities. we are dealing with a network of individuals and groups throughout the regions with various subsidiaries. there are franchises sort of springing up where ever it benefits them. they target states and this is what i was talking about at the beginning of the show. these are key elements that we need to keep in mind. if we look through the prism, there are groups that had been operating there and face some setbacks.
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if you look at areas such as libya and tunisia where there are also affiliates, i don't think you can really talk about a group in disarray. you can talk about a group gaining in strength. and as you mentioned earlier, a key part will be chewed depend on local allies in the region that have networks that know these groups well and have experience dealing with them. >> a game of whack a mole. molly has been sorted to a certain degree. leaning on the locals, will that be doable? >> what is really interesting is the confusion between these groups. we know that there was the
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movement for the city for the jihad in west africa. and also the separatist group. we saw that several people, they literally changed close and pretended to be among the population. that is why it was really hard for the french army to go inside. now the question is, are they still there? we can be certain that some elements are still hiding, may be among the population. we need to remember that the people that we found, the french military found people.
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almost all the heads of those islamic groups ran away before the strikes. >> it corroborates what he said, going off to south libya. they are moving well in small groups. >> it is both fastidious and naïve to think that because of something -- it doesn't mean that the groups working together are thinking that same way. they see something going wrong and they moved to somewhere else. if we look at it as something in mali, we will not make headway. >> is the west getting better?
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>> they are learning to fight against them. the second issue, the fact that we are missing the point. it is not the same thing as the one i am speaking about. i think these movements are facing a contradiction. they need momentum and at the same time, they also need to seek a safe haven. you have to look at where that issue is brought up. it has been fairly to reunify the country north and south.
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they are seeking with areas of bad governments, so we don't have to look very far from that. it is south of libya. it is also a new and dangerous phenomenon. they are a bit out of that agenda, and we assessed the fact that egypt is facing this new problem. >> people think that the situation over there, there is still negotiations with the rebellion movement that caused this whole thing to begin with. i don't think we can count out mali as the next theater for terrorists. >> you're mentioning cross- border, vast expanses. the u.s. has pitched in with the
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institution of a drone base. he asked about the u.s. installing that drone-based monitor. >> i think the presence of friendly states, this presence would have been slightly blinded. they enable niger to anticipate because niger has information in due time to react. >> how do you feel about drones in the sahara? >> for the president of niger to give that kind of response shows
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the politics of the region today. not that long ago, the american military effort in terms of africa was not welcome i think that things are changing and the president has been very good at finding compromises with the values. the working of the hostage release and the working of the drones is proof that the president is thinking about stabilizing the country as manuel was alluding to. thinking in very realistic terms. that is what i think of it. the coming of american drones is going to fuel much more antagonism on the part of the terrorist groups over time. >> we will look at the short-
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term and long-term effects in the days and weeks to come. i want to thank our guests for joining us. from london, thank you for being with us for the debate.
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Taiwan Outlook
PBS October 30, 2013 7:00pm-8:01pm PDT

Series/Special. Interviews with experts on major policies and current affair issues.

TOPIC FREQUENCY France 9, Us 5, U.s. 4, Libya 4, Syria 4, Northern Mali 4, Paris 3, Algeria 3, Francois Hollande 3, Mali 3, Africa 2, John Kerry 2, Claire 2, Niger 2, Israel 2, Tunisia 2, London 2, China 2, West Africa 2, Southern Libya 1
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on 10/31/2013